Ending Healthcare Disparity With Wigs For Women Of Color

Every woman, regardless of hair texture, deserves a wig that resembles the hair that she lost.

Our guest, Pamela Shaddock, is Co-Founder and COO of Coils to Locs, a social impact, for-profit enterprise that addresses a healthcare disparity: the lack of coily, curly, ethnically inspired wigs at cancer center hospitals and medical hair loss salons that can be purchased with health insurance reimbursement if applicable.

Pamela and her Co-Founder (and sister!) Dianne Austin are intimately aware of how dehumanizing fighting cancer and traction alopecia can be, even with the best efforts and the most compassionate care. Hair loss adds to the feeling of powerlessness and loss of control, especially when you can’t find a wig that resembles the hair you lost.

A professional film, TV and stage actress with a strong background in nonprofit, Pamela co-leads the company’s free health, wellness and beauty workshops for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

Add wind to Coils to Locs Equity Crowdfunding Campaign on Wefunder here:

https://wefunder.com/coilstolocs

To learn more about Coils to Locs, please visit: https://coilstolocs.com

To purchase a Coils to Locs wig, please visit: https://coilstolocsstore.com/

Follow Coils to Locs on Social here:

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/coils...

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coilstolocsw...

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CoilsToLocs

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CoilstoLocs

Pamela's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pamelashad...

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Every Woman, regardless of hair texture, deserves a wig that resembles the hair they lost and our guest is the co-founder and COO of coils to Locks ethnically inspired wigs that help. Women of color look and feel good, and oh, my gosh Founders. Launching a consumer product company comes with a whole lot of unique challenges and you are going to learn so much from this delicious conversation and inspirational conversation. It'S Fab female, founder Friday on the start of life, live show, let's glow everyone, foreign hello and welcome to the start of life live show. I'M your host Andy Lyons, four times founder and startup Champion to Founders around the world and happy 2023.. This is our first episode of the new year and I have a special wish for you. May 2023 be structured enough for success and achievement and flexible enough for creativity and fun. I'M so grateful you carved out time to tune in and up your founder game. These conversations will take you to a whole new level of understanding your founder Journey right and, as you do better, your startup will do better, a big you who to the live viewers out there - hey. Let us know where you're healing from and a hearty welcome to replay viewers and podcast listeners. Your presence means the world to me and I know you're going to benefit from the conversation today, if you're tuning in from YouTube. Please be sure to like this video and share your subscribe, love and a click on the Bell icon to receive alerts and by the way, if you haven't done so already, please join the startup live live Meetup Group. This is where you get the Deep dive into each guest that I'm bringing on you get to kick the tires check their background and find perhaps an opportunity to connect with them on LinkedIn and with each other, so join the startup life live Meetup Group um. How are you adjusting to the new year? Did you have a good holiday? Are you excited for? What'S going to be happening, I want to share a quote with you, a little nugget of and delicious advice and so try and take this in. It'S a Wonderful reminder. Innovation and Entrepreneurship never happen without experimentation and experimentation. Rarely, if ever happens without failure, and what characterizes successful innovators is their ability to continually continuously test their assumptions about the world and adapt accordingly. So remember in 2023 to stay flexible Founders. Okay, I can do a quick shout out to scrubias okay, because this is a phenomenal organization led by a Fab female founder, Allison, Byers and her team are helping founders, have successful experiences in creating the right pitch deck that will attract the best aligned investors for your Business visit scrubias.com, s-c-r-o-o-b-i-o-u-s and use Andy 15 in the promo code to receive 15 off and you're gon na love. What they do. You know that pure support that you get at scrubias is as important as the pitch deck advice. In my humble opinion, all right, so I'm going to introduce you to our wonderful guest. Let me put this great piece of artwork up here. While I introduce you to her she's the one on the left, with her sister Diane on the right and it's Pamela, Shattuck co-founder and CEO of coils, to Locks a social impact for profit, Enterprise that addresses a healthcare disparity, the lack of coily curly, ethnically inspired wigs At Cancer Center hospitals and medical hair loss, salons Pamela and her co-founder and sister Diane Austin are intimately aware of how dehumanizing fighting cancer and traction alopecia can be even with the best efforts and the most Compassionate Care. Hair loss adds to the feeling of powerlessness and loss of control, especially when you can't find a wig that resembles the hair you lost and we are going to learn so much from Pamela today. Pamela welcome to the start of life live show, I'm so happy you're. Here, hey everybody! Thank you for having me, I am happy to be here and it's so great and we've got some great folks tuning in let's say hello to Accent of Glory hi everyone joining from North Carolina Yaya. I know accent to Glory yeah great, and you know we have a thing here: uh accent of Glory Tanya, I'm just going to put it out right now amplify your brand. If you've got a business share your business name, one line or in website URL. In the comments - and we will showcase and celebrate you and your wonderful startup live on the show we'll get out the clappers for you and also folks, be sure to pop in comments during the live show, because we learn from you and our replay listeners and viewers Learn from your great questions as we answer them, I also want to say hello to the other dynamic duo of this incredible sister team here at coils to Locks Diane Austin back up here. Hi Andy go Pamela, yay and we're just so good to see you Ruth is the start of life, live Community manager, she's from Nairobi, she's, a mom and a hard-working goddess and founder herself, and she just makes sure everybody arrives and feels welcome and Richard. Oh now, this is, if you're doing a podcast everybody, and you want someone to produce your podcast Richard o - is the man and he's saying greetings from North Carolina, California, I hope the weather's okay up there for you guys and then everyone who tunes into the show You know about Brent Manuel he's, saying Happy New Year, Andy Brent from Ottawa, Canada, a diverse person, loyal fan, a seat at the table is important. For me, absolutely our disabled friends need to be at the table and, yes, we heard the great news about Center. First, so we have a local here in Boston, everybody, Pamela's from Boston and as well, and we have a local fund. Vc fund called Mendoza Ventures and the founders Adrian and Santa deferred have are in the process of raising a hundred million dollar fund for diverse fintech companies, primarily diverse, then tech, companies and folks, if you are looking at Venture Capital, you know that those uh you know You have the big bell curve, mostly white male white, male white, male white male, then tiny little bit for white women and then black women. And then we have our Latina. That'S a next, but I got to tell you. The female VC is just doesn't even show up, so this is huge and Bank of America is their anchor thunder. So that is just huge got ta. Do a quick shout out to them, so it's Mendoza Ventures, folks, if you've got a fintech company, go check them out and Diane Tanya of accented Glory has a wonderful business brand of beautiful jewelry. Okay, we've put it out to the world Tanya! Thank you for that. Diane all right, so, let's get into your entrepreneurship Journey Pamela, because I got to tell you this. You know, I always say you always win when you launch a business, it's the best personal development program out there you get to tap into so many delicious parts of yourself, but you know please share why you and your sister were compelled to launch coils and lot. Two locks - and you know talk about the health care disparity part. You know about how getting wigs and the insurance part and the health care disparity. I want to learn what called and compelled you both to say. You know what no one else is doing it. We'Re gon na do it yeah I mean Diane and I um started coils to Locks and, as you said, and beautifully in the bio, where social impact for-profit business um, that's disrupting a health care disparity, and so the business was born of Diane's lived experience uh as A breast cancer patient. She was diagnosed in 2015, she's she's, fine, now um, but uh. She in 2015 yay in 2015. She was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as part of that, treatment was told that she was going to lose all of her her hair um. And, of course you know, as you can imagine, for any woman. That'S that's devastating for anybody, but for for definitely for Diane um and she was given um. What'S called a cranioprosthesis, which is basically a wig prescription, um and told you know from her oncologist that she could go to any cancer center hospital, Boutique or medical hair loss Salon with this prescription and her health, she had great health insurance. Her insurance, uh paid would pay for up to 350 dollars in reimbursement. She could she was told she could go and take this wig prescription um and find the wig of her choice right uh, and that wasn't the case when she went to her hospital where she was being treated um their Boutique. They were only selling straight-haired wigs. He thought - okay - maybe it's just here started looking across uh the major hospitals in Boston and, as we know, Boston has a great medical system, major hospitals, um phenomenal, and none of these um Hospital boutiques were selling wigs that represented Diane's natural hair um. She was in a phase that where she was wearing her hair as it grows out of our heads as black people right um, unstraightened, um, no chemical relaxers, and she was just like happy that she had this weight prescription. She was gon na go and get this wig um, not finding it in Boston. We thought, okay, maybe it's just a Boston thing. So, together we started doing the research across the country I kind of was living in L.A. At the times I was still on the west. What year was this 2015.? So we're like it's 2015., you know, and the German 21st century the 21st century and the journey of black women in particular embracing um their natural hair, their corally curly, hair um was huge. Um - and it was a a just - ongoing lifestyle, um embracing uh change, not just a a moments or a movement, but just a whole lifestyle change where we were wearing our hair in its natural state and loving it. So she thought she could walk in and find a wig that represented her, and that wasn't the case, and when we did the research across the country, we found that it really was systemic none of these hospital locations and - and you know people were wanting her to Kind of jump through hoops well take this straight hair wig and go to uh this Salon over here and they'll put chemicals on it and kink it up for you or you know. Oh my God, I got ta, you know. Put it out to the sister here. Were you like both just so shocked that wait a minute what this hasn't? This problem has not been solved exactly and not only um not solved Andy. I would say it it just let us know that we weren't even on the radar really um as black women or any woman with highly textured hair curly coily kinky hair. Just we were not even uh on the radar um, but we were getting feedback as we were going along and we were making these calls. We were getting feedback that yeah. You know we have patients who ask for them, but we don't have them: Distributors, the Distributors, that we're working with, don't sell them. We'Ve asked and nobody thought that this was an issue, and so when so we um uh to make a long story short um. We you know, we looked at the statistics. Okay, according to the American Cancer Society, one in three black women in their lifetime would be diagnosed with cancer um and it's usually the type of cancer that um the chemotherapy cocktail that you receive is going to make. You lose your hair, yeah um uh one day, three, everyone one out of three somebody wasn't already doing the capital as dance and going. I have got a great industry. I'Ve got I can tap into here exactly and then um. We also found out that almost 50 percent - I think it's like 40, just over 46 of um black women in the U.S and just specifically talking about black women in the U.S, are experiencing some form of medical or non-medical, hair loss, right, um and then Diane. I would say she Diane being already in the uh diversity and inclusion space um. That'S was her career um uh, most of her life before launching coils, to Lots, she's, director of of diversity and inclusion at a major hospital um, and so she immediately recognized that this was a health care despair. Already it's just like this is a healthcare disparity and nobody's thinking of this, and you know, and and it's like I I just want to look like myself um, you know, I, you you're, you have a loss of control over all of these other things that are Happening to you, while you're going through this challenging, you know journey of uh healing from uh breast cancer diagnosis, and it's one thing that you know Diane thought she would have some control over. She found like it's not the case right, like you're going through. So much of a challenge as it is. You don't want people to look at you and go you don't look like yourself right, you know and she knew she wanted to wear wig. Not every woman wants to wear wig, but um yeah and she didn't want to wear a scarf. She didn't want to come in. You know with her hair one way you know one day and then with some straight haired wig that didn't represent her the next bringing attention to herself. So with this all these things running through her mind, um and just um, you know so that journey. I actually flew in from LA to help support her and finding a wig when we realized that she's gon na have to go into like a community beauty supply store where, in a lot of cases, the quality of the wig isn't. As what does? What does 350 get you like? What are wigs, normally priced at um, wigs uh, depending on where you're getting them and yeah and, of course, depending on the quality right, can can run you? I I'd say in the the cancer medic medical Salon, spaces uh, a wig on the retail side, will run you anywhere from 150 upwards to 400.50 and that's a synthetic wig, not not even a human hair, wig right, um yeah in a beauty supply store. You can find them a lot cheaper, but the quality is cheaper as well um we'll get into that, and - and thank you sister Diane. Yes, I couldn't believe that there was not a diverse choice of wigs. I do find it ironic Diane that you were in Dei at a major Hospital. You were like wait. What the U.S wig Distributors have not addressed the needs of black women interested in tightly textured, wigs hard to believe. Oh, my gosh. So had you two been exposed to entrepreneurship? Is this like some or was this a whole new world for you both? You know growing up. Let me preface this with. We come from a hard-working family, uh, immediate, extended family, our neighbors everybody were, they were hard-working people, but nobody that we knew growing up. Um had their own business, so we weren't necessarily exposed to that. Now we were exposed um uh. You know to the arts and culture, and - and you know our parents took us everywhere and that sort of thing so we saw things and so maybe I think, there's sort of maybe was this underlying thing like there's a whole big word out world out there and You can be this and you can be that so we had that in our head, but no we, we weren't um necessarily exposed to it yeah. I have a feeling, though, that you were. You were both problem solvers. So when, because this is what happens, you see a problem, a lot of people see a problem. They go well someday that'll get fixed for you, Pamela and Diane said we're gon na. Do that and I'm always so curious right. What compels people to go over that edge because folks, I'm I'm a huge fan of launching a business? No matter what happens right, but it's still a big undertaking because you start doing the research while you were working at other jobs. Was this a side hustle for a while? Is it still a side, hustle yeah? We definitely um kept our jobs. We were in um a pretty lengthy pre-launch stage because we were figuring out the manufacturing piece like we had never done this before. Oh, please, I feel, like you know not not only is starting a bit well, I will say Diane dabbed in a couple of things: yeah we'll just bring it go ahead and you can read your sister's comment. Pamela! Oh I'll, I'm sorry writing family. We literally said it yeah, they just needed a little water there. What is she saying? Yes, I have dabbed. An entrepreneurship is called New Day, Organics and yeah. She did she. She um definitely was sort of our um North Star and the the entrepreneurial uh world, and she she had some pretty decent success with that, and you know I think the main thing was you know not having the necessary resources of knowing the things you don't. You know you don't know what you don't know so in those early years. She you know she didn't know. If she did certain things, she might have scaled better right. It'S a! We can all look in that rear view Miracle. We could have done that better. Of course you could but remember it's an experiment, absolutely and so, and especially when you're bringing in product whether you know whatever product you have, if you have to get it manufactured somewhere and delivered and then take it to get it to the consumer folks, there are So many parts and pieces that have to come together, especially sourcing understanding where these are going to get made, you know, and how do you keep it? You know ethical and all of the good things yeah. How like in your exploration? Where did you land on manufacturing, because you had to figure where you could get your specific coily to Locks, wigs, yeah and seeing being done anywhere exactly and we didn't know anything about distribution or the manufacturing space? So you know margins the margins. Any of that. So you know it was partly Google University and you know, and trying to ask around yeah exactly and trying to figure out how to access these manufacturers, which was which was hard um. It was difficult, that's why it took us a couple of years, and you know again, you don't know what you don't know and you don't even necessarily know the right questions to ask or how to even put it in the search you're just playing around when we Had Billy uh shoes, the founder of Billy shoes, which is you know, shoes for disabled people, so they have another sense of Freedom. They can at least get their shoes on right and a sense of Independence. His first order of thousands of pairs of shoes had to throw out 80 for five percent of the first batch. Oh yeah, but you know what happens? Is these mistakes and the experimenting inform us? You know, and it Formed him to go, get a better Ally and a better manufacturer, and then they've been fine ever since, and now Amazon and everybody Zappos and Nordstroms carries them same thing with you. You had to figure out who's, not only going to be able to produce what we want, but can they take it to volume, and can they consistently give us the look and feel of what we're looking for so um? Absolutely, oh, my gosh, and so here. Let me just pull this up, so you know you're, looking at all these wonderful, beautiful wigs I mean so you had to come up with the the length, the type of coil and curl right yeah that was important to us and color yeah and yeah, and some People who had gone gray - I mean they didn't want all of a sudden, be like oh she's, getting her hair colored what's going on or you know exactly exactly so. You know the manufacturing side. We really um um. Well, we found out, you know fairly quickly that most of the - if, if not all, of the manufacturing um mass production of wigs was done um internationally and out of China yeah, and so we then had not having anybody boots on the ground there. We then had to figure out how to navigate that um we found um and the fact that they take a whole month off in February. Exactly oh, yes, that was a shocker um. We were like wait, a minute um, you know, and that was okay too. Before covid you had, you know a smaller window still, but now it's just the that's a whole. I'M sure we'll get into that that whole supply chain challenge um but yeah. We we basically um called around and started getting samples, um and - and finally, you know - landed on a couple of Manufacturers that we felt that the quality was there. They were getting the texture right because again, that was so important that you know we we got the different textures of of our hair, um and, and they could, you know, Mass produce these initially what used to be in a timely manner. But you know that's a whole other ball game now right Richard L. I thank goodness for the audience to remind us. Richard always reminded us stitched that on a pillow you don't know what you don't know. I can see that absolutely on the couch or the chair. Let'S just do a quick Hallelujah, it really should be like yeah and forget a name plate on your desk. That should be you, don't know what you don't know and it's okay. You know it's okay, not to know, especially if you're you're being curious and you're asking the questions and you're you're working towards figuring it out, but you you just don't, and so you make those mistakes but, like you said, those mistakes are all part of the learning Process and and you grow from that right and so because you want to be a social impact company, did you file your entity as a b Corp or did you? Are you interested because that folks, it's wonderful to be a benefit Corp, but it comes with a lot of paperwork and a lot of constraints, or did you go sub chapter S or LLC yeah we're we're LLC um. You know, and I can see how B core would make sense, because that's you know geared towards um uh, environmental and social impact businesses that Corporation um. You know we've talked about possibly have - maybe you know incorporating in in other ways in another way, um, but right now we're we're LLC, okay. I always ask that question because some people go all the way with that and it's you know you can still be a social impact, a company folks and a for-profit company, but staying within the Easy Tax and filing regulations of those I'm going to bring up some Comments that Diane has sharing, because this is so important, whether you're in a rich community resource Community like ours here in Boston, tons of great accelerator programs and and events happening all the time or you know you can do get them virtual. It'S so important. So Diane is chiming in here with. We also took advantage of various boston-based entrepreneurial programs to support our education around building a business, shout outs and Pamela, and I are going to just cheer loudly yeah organizations like tle, Consulting and Roxbury Innovation Center. Are you just rock absolutely Diane goes on to say and others, along with people who gave of their time to help us like Barnett Sherman, who met with us monthly for almost two years and others? I hate naming names because I always leave people out because you're gon na leave somebody out he's like we love you all. We really do, and so many people did help us so yeah yeah, it's so important and so um, yes and Diane. I love this. You know having Diane in the comments adding to the conversation. We are interested in VC funding, and so yes, you will need to change your status to uh at least a sub chapter as or Inc. Folks, when you bring on investors, you can get angels in under an LLC, but when you go, VC you've got to be in Inked, but I love that you took the time there is this mythology around entrepreneurship? That is supposed to happen like this. I don't know where they get, that from every business is a 10-year overnight success. Exactly isn't this the same thing in the acting world too? It'S just like when, when people finally recognize you for that big thing that you do it's like, where did that person come from? It'S like I've, been doing this for 15 years same thing in business, yeah and so Pamela? What'S it like co-founding, a business with a sibling, you know it's it's. I laugh because we get that question a lot. It'S and I find it interesting. We get that question a lot and usually people do it with a you know a raised eyebrow like oh, I could never work with my sibling. What'S it like working with your sister, you know it's like. We already know how to have good fights right. I know now, when you see how we tag team each other. You see how she's here to support me like we really we're pretty close in age. We grew up sharing a room together. We, we almost think alike, almost yeah um, but different enough that we, you know we can balance each other out and especially in business. Where that's important, you know you don't want. You know. You definitely need somebody who can have another point of view and all of that um, but we get along so well that we don't have issues so people always are surprised when we're like we, we love it. It'S great. I couldn't even imagine doing being um and much hats off to the solopreneurs out there, like I couldn't imagine doing this without my sister or you know, meeting a stranger and co-founding a business with them and like having to have those awkward conversations that you guys have Worked out years ago and you were fighting over dolls or something or clothing right, exactly yeah and, like I said we share the room, so we've seen and done it all. So I love it so now you've worked hard over the two years and of course, with the help of mentors and the wonderful accelerator programs and other events that we have here in Boston. But you had to come up with your minimum, viable product and so you've determined the texture. You'Ve got the Styles. You'Ve got your colors, but what did you start taking around because you had to get some money and I imagine to and get some consumer interest take us on that Journey? Yeah um, like I said we, you know we would get samples from, and you know and Diane could probably jump in here better on this, because again she was boots on the ground in our pre-launch stage. I was still out in La doing things from afar um, and so I think she took some samples around uh to some of the hospitals once we got them um, but initially, I think some of those conversations like we didn't even have a sample. We were just talking about the issue and people resonated with the social impact part of our business. For sure and the fact you know the feedback we were getting that they have been looking for these wigs um, but all of our products once we got them, they're fully realized Styles um. You know that have wig caps that are pretty standard other than that wigs. The medical hair loss don't have the combs in them, because people with hair loss can't have nothing to Anchor that's right and then the Caps, usually that are sewn the hair, is so key and trying to trying to keep it comfortable. We know from Dolly Parton how hard that can be okay on the legs right, exactly and Patty Austin she's always talking about her wigs as well and getting at them to fit and feel so good. But more importantly, when you are going through such a traumatic period, whether you know it doesn't matter, if you know it's cancer or medically induced hair loss, it's such a tough time and you're you're really having to pull in some deep courage as it is, and you Know it's nice to put on some lipstick as a woman right. You know you put on the that wig and that hair, and especially when your hair has been everything about who you are and how you present in the world. This is huge, so you all, though, decided you didn't, go uh con. You know to Consumers. You went through Health Care insurance and Cancer Centers salon Route. That'S a b to B business model, so walk us through a little bit about that. You'Ve got the manufacturing figured out now, you've got. You know products that people can now order, and you know that you, you can trust that you're going to deliver a good product, but now you've got to build relationships with the places that are going to either have a picture of it in their books, write or Online or in the salon itself, yeah right yeah, definitely we're we're now we're both a B2B and b2c, but we definitely launched um as a B2B company that you know made most sense based on you know: diet's Journey the lived experience and and the the impact that We were trying to make at the hospitals selling those wigs b b to B um uh that distribution. And what was your question again? Oh well again, I was about to go off on a tangent and I was like wait a minute. It'S just. How do you start those conversations? First, you had to make the decision. This is how we want to enter, Because what you also saw with the health disparity Healthcare disparity was wait. You know these insurance companies were applicable. Are you know giving you 350 dollars for your wig and there's nothing there so you're tying in with a couple of B2B entities you're with the insurance companies, you want to make sure you're on their approved list, but also with the cancer salons at the Cancer Centers. Like Dana Farber or Mass General, and so how did you go and get your entryway into those? Because distribution folks tuning in that is a key component? Is that, where who's going to carry your product, understanding the best fit that first customer segment that you go after to prove your minimum viable product is so important because that's how you start to get traction and you become more attractive to investors and - and you begin To get the the money in the door so who was the one who went out to the well, I imagine Diane, given that she was in the hospital world, was familiar. How to use that system. That'S exactly it. You know all of it With a Little Help from our friends I'll just start there um, but Diane those first, three hospitals, um, starting with the the MGH where Diane had her relationships um. You know she was able to to talk because she was in that c-suite. She was able to talk to some people and get to the right get to the right person to get us to um the boutiques in the hospital, so those first three hospitals here, uh in in Boston, um, MGH, Dana Farber, Beth, Israel, um Diane. You know. Bravo, thank you Diane for that and got us into those spaces um, but I'm telling you we were blessed in our first year of launching, which was what year is this when she was 20, so we launched November of 2019 four months before the pandemic, so they're Gon na lose hair, they're gon na be diagnosed all of these things. It doesn't stop, although the boutiques and salons stop, they weren't considered essential. So we had to navigate that and so did they because they still had to do the work just with their stores being closed, right, um and so uh. We we were blessed in 2020 to get some pro bono PR work, um at an amazing um. Pr firm called Big Fish here in Boston, uh um. What happened? What did they? What what worked? What was that about? So they they managed to get us on um major media platforms. We had an eight-minute segment on The Today Show People magazine in style, L, um and if I backtrack, our first major media was Forbes and that was through Barnett that I mentioned earlier. Um and uh all of this brought people to us. So we in that first year, incredibly didn't have to do a lot of work. People were knocking on our doors because they were seeing you know and folks we had Sabrina stalker on last. I think in November right talking about how important PR is for your business, especially if you're raising capital. You know what Diane's added a few more goodies here. Folks, I'm going to read her comments. We started by speaking to people in healthcare spaces with clinicians Patient Advocates, Health Care, administrators and others to explore their thoughts about the need in this space, and we saw the Gap in the market on the hospital, medical hair loss Salon side and as a business. It was easier to take the role as distributor where it would have had the most impact, Aha, and it would have been how we worked so well together, yeah. This is good. This is what we want. We work well information. Yeah people need because it's a big decision to go B2B versus retail, because you have to really understand your margins and um and Diane you're. Absolutely right. When I launched my food manufacturing business, I went into food service because a you know, women are considered minorities, so I got part of the Supplier Diversity Program, which I know you all can do as well. If you haven't done it already through we bank, but then it allowed me to keep my margins, I wasn't trying to compete on the grocery store shelf in retail, I was in major corporate and hospitals Etc, and while I got volume up and that's where you know You had to figure these things out, so how did you figure out margins, I'm always going to go there with a consumer product and a B2B consumer product? In your case, how do you you got the pricing from your manufacturing? You realized. Okay, it's going to cost this to do these types of wings and wigs - and I know different lengths and textures and styles - are going to have different pricing. But then you had to add on so that you were going to make a profit right, but you also had to be careful about the consumer, had an appetite for all of that and we're still learning um. You know, particularly since we just launched the the e-commerce side. We have our online store. Now it's it's only been like a month. You know so well, congratulations! Yeah! The November 30th, exactly we launched the e-commerce online store. Um our margins are, are pretty healthy right now. Uh because we haven't had a ton of ongoing expenses, and then you know getting that free pro bono work those stories that keep on giving um oh yeah, because they've become Evergreen yeah. Absolutely, and let me let me just show you so you did the PR stand and look what happened. Forbes people today, L, Boston Business, Journal, the Boston Globe in style Essence and you know FedEx what the building yeah. We were part of the FedEx learning learning lab and we won a grant yeah it's and Boston. Now you know the Innovation rag there startups to watch proud, Grant recipient and project entrepreneur. This is wonderful and black Venture accelerator yay way to rock it out of the park. Pamela and Diane. That'S amazing, and you know what I want to do folks, I'm just going to go ahead and do a quick screen share of the e-commerce site, because I think you know we want to do a little bragging here. Um, let's see if I got the right one, I'm going to call up here: um! Okay, let me just I'll: do my stop share for a second everybody and pull up the right to the correct tab because um, I really want you all to see how cool this looks here and and the options. Because again, you know we all have different hairstyle and you know you might want to try if you've always had long and coily, you might want to go short or if you always had short, you might want to go long, and I just think you know having That option and the fact that you have provided this opportunity for folks, here's the correct Tab and so folks can go down like this and go hey short, medium, long, Kimmy, caps, braids and locks. I mean this is a great selection for folks and you bring up a good point. It'S you know it's a great way. You know, because, with the online store we're able to sell, you know uh to our secondary Market, which is anybody who loves wearing wigs right right. That'S a great way to um uh change up your look without damaging your own hair with color or changing the length and and that sort of thing so yeah, I'm just gon na go through this one more time for our video viewers, podcast listeners be sure to Hop onto coils to locksstore.com to see this incredible selection, yeah and our hearing caps have a great story behind them. Um you know. Unfortunately, we lost our sister in 2020, her name was Kimberly yeah, our oldest sister Kimberly. Thank you um yeah. It was unexpected and uh. She was the biggest champion of our business and she loved the hats, with hair and so uh. When we got these um locked and braided hats with hair, we were like we're gon na name them Kimmy caps, after in honor of our sister Kimberly Stone. Oh, my gosh, I think we're comfortable, I'm just wondering you know they just look like the the caps with hair. Look a lot more comfortable yeah, you know and they're. You know just really just grab and go like out the door. You know right and what a beautiful way to share and honor your sister's memory and keep her alive in your hearts right. Yeah! Thank you! Oh I'm! So sorry, for your for your loss on that um, hey, Mia, VOS, so happy you're tuning in and catching these wonderful Founders. Everybody knows that when Mia swings by, I stop everything and share her phenomenal podcast, which we all need to listen to. It'S called. We don't talk about with Mia Voss, go to, we don't talk about podcast.com and find out where you want to listen to us on all the popular podcasts, and she has the topics and a delicious way of being able to talk about those things that we don't Talk enough about so thanks Mia for swinging by and um Pamela. You know she went on to say here. There was a hospital retailer who took us under her wing and told us that she and her competitors paid on the whole side in general. You know it and it helped them figure out pricing strategy, and you know we talk about this. A lot on the show Pamela. That pricing strategy is what helps you stay in business and as female Founders. You know you want to make sure you know we're always up against our limited limiting beliefs around money right and just because of the indoctrination of centuries, and so whether you're raising money or what to charge and still you know, do right by your consumer, but make Sure that you're a profitable company exactly you know, that's, not easy to do and did, and how long did it take you to work that out? What kind of experimenting did you have to do? Um again we're still learning, especially having just launched the e-commerce site because that's a whole different piece right: the B2B versus the b2c, the director consumer side um, but yeah. Just like Diane said we got that you know we got support um through one of the retailers um, but I think also just um uh, looking at something that you should do. Look look at what your competitors are doing right, see what other people are selling these wigs, for we did focus groups and things like that as well um. You know not only for around the weird Styles but to see what people, but they all seems very reasonable. I mean the Kimmy caps were at different. You know 200, where the Amani coil leaves 175. These are all within the budget that folks get for reimbursement, and how does one know that that comes with their insurance plan? Is it typical for insurance providers to provide this reimbursement? It definitely depends on your insurance provider, but a lot of insurance providers do um, reimburse for up to 350 dollars um for a wig, but it depends and um the on the hospital side. They will take care of that for the patient. The whole process will take them through the process um right now, we're not doing we're, not processing those insurance and, of course, but we will uh. We have a whole bunch of information, a whole page on our site about how to navigate the insurance excellent, and we also provide an invoice because you have a have to have a professional invoice with the company logo. That'S more than most companies will do for you. So Bravo to you for making the journey easier because, again, if someone's going through chemo, it's like what I got to do one more thing: you know they want to be able to say to their friend or their support system go and take care of that. For me exactly and we plan to to do um in the near future to be able um you're going to figure out how how we might be able to help people through that process, more exactly yeah, so now, you've, you've gotten all this press right, I'm just Going to bring that up again, because that's just so delicious and you've got to be able to meet orders. You'Ve got to be able to scale. You'Ve got to be able to grow. I'M thinking you're going to be moving into a lot more Hospitals. Now you have the store, I imagine, as the word gets out, you're going to be getting a lot more orders for these Beauties here. How is your manufacturer prepared to to scale with you? Have you had those conversations um? They are we're. You know we're working with one of the um major. It may be the number one um manufacturer in China, and then we have a second manufacturer um. We are looking to diversify um so that our eggs aren't all in one basket, especially like we talked about earlier. The supply chain issues where it would take somewhere like two to three months to to get your your inventory it's taking like six months. You know um to get your inventory so we're having to anticipate um how things will move right um in in in order now in a way, I think - and I think a lot of people are in this boat, but order now in a way that you know You may not have done in the past just so. You have the inventory to meet the demand of the consumer, um we're still figuring out what that looks like, especially on the e-commerce side. The the B2B side moves a little slower because there's a lot of red tape. You know that they have to answer to people, and people have sign off on things and whatever, but the the online store will start to move faster um, and so you know our fear has been like we're gon na run out of inventory, and then you know Um so trying to figure out right exactly how to navigate that, how to move forward with with marketing and and and you know, making sure we have the inventory uh yeah and I think I think the key to Pamela is the ability to communicate with your users. Being able to keep the dialogue and since the pandemic, everybody knows there's a delay on everything uh at least it's not toilet paper anymore and so and so we're grateful for that. But you know so the having those conversations Founders. You can't ghost your your users, you have to be in constant, hey, you know, and you can do that on your Instagram feeds or LinkedIn and your social platforms, you can do it through emails and just you know, keep them in the full. Keep them part of your journey, you can, you know, talk about what's going on in manufacturing or this or that or how great you can just do a quick wig demo or what you both did yesterday on IG, which is lovely the two of you said: hey, Here'S an update, here's where we are as we enter 2023. It gets. You know, folks, you know behind you as Founders as well and and create some a more um engaged way, so others can be a brand ambassador for you and get the word out and how um? How have you funded this journey? So far, did you get Angels? Do you I mean we always laugh here at the startup life live, show people always say: oh yeah, friends and family and a lot of people are like. Are you kidding? My friends and family are borrowing from me or there's something on my couch? What do you mean friends and family exactly well? Initially, we bootstrap like a lot of people. Um we uh also early on, got a low interest loan for twenty thousand dollars through another wonderful group. We work with the Optima entrepreneur Cooperative in conjunction with Berkshire Bank. Yes, a Berkshire Bank shout out to you you're, wonderful for entrepreneurs, yes yeah yeah so and we've we've secured the past couple of years, probably over a hundred thousand dollars in non-dilutive funding through grants and such and folks. Just so you know, non-dilutive means you're not giving up and any iota of your Equity. That means this is money. That'S coming in and you're saying. Thank you very much, but speaking of equity. Right now we are in the middle of an equity crowdfunding raise through the we funder platform yeah. So our ultimate investment raised goal is two hundred and fifty thousand dollars to be. When did you launch on refunder we launched in October? Was it October day? You know Diane throw the link into the comments. Would you please I want to put it up on the screen and I'll put it into the show notes as well. Folks, Equity crowdfunding is such a delicious, delicious way to be an investor. You know you're, as as Warren Buffett is always saying when you buy Equity at a company right, you're put you're an owner, and most of us of course, are not accredited investors for what these wonderful Equity or reg crowdfunding platforms do for us to say you can Slap down: what's your minimum investment amount, a hundred dollars Yeah a hundred dollars. You know you can slap. I do this all the time. You know why go out to dinner and I can slap down 100 bucks and be part of you know, coils to Locks Journey or some other Founder's Journey. It'S so wonderful! You know right on a return on your investment as we grow that grows for you and we're less than I wanted to make this point because we're less than five thousand dollars away from reaching our first Milestone of fifty thousand dollars and that's important um. I want to share that because it's important for us to hit that fifty thousand dollar mark for a number of reasons you know it will it will boost coils to locks up on the wheat under algorithm, that's right, which will give our campaign access to investors outside Of our friends and family group, and and potentially get us closer to that 250 000. But it all it'll allow us to immediately access the funds to support our strategic growth. And until we hit that fifty thousand dollar Mark um, we won't be able to access right fun. If you don't, by the end of our campaign, we would have to give everybody things and, and folks it's it's earmarked on your credit card until coils Deluxe closes on the round yeah, so um, you won't see it hit your account officially until you get the statement From them accent of Glory, Tanya's, saying proud, coils to Locks investor here yeah and as you like, you mentioned earlier, less than three percent. I think it is of women, get Venture Capital money and for women of color it's less than one percent. I think it's 0.6 to be exact, so you know, as we say here in Boston, you were Wicked smart to go and go the equity crowdfunding route and folks, if you're not familiar with Equity crowdfunding. This came into being through the SEC in 2016 and it's a wonderful ability, it's all SEC compliant, and these platforms have done all the hard work and you provide the important documents and I'm Diane. What is the um link for the we funder? Okay, if you could pop that into the comments that would be great as Diane says, we are raising 250, but we need to get to 50 and we all heard about that. The wind that gets added to your sales when you do this and - and I know so many women of color Founders Pamela, who have gone this route and had success. It'S especially if you're, a company that has inventory and products is so in. In someone oh BFF, she's, saying to celebrate my new big contract, I will be investing in coils to logs. Oh, we love that. Thank you so much, and but folks I will get the link and it will be in the show note, so you could probably go to refund or w-e-f-u-n-d-e-r.com and just do the search records the locks. If you write that in the URL refunder.com coils Deluxe excellent. Well, we're so proud of you, because you know the bias is real and I have very strong feelings on the bias actually not changing until the real source of the money money. You know the big hedge fund, institutional funds start looking like you or me when they are the ones who are writing the checks and making the decision and when they give their 400 million to a fund, and they say this has to go toward diverse Founders. Unless that happens, everyone's going to be going what I call the Andreessen way of uh investing, which is uh male pale and stale, with all due respect to my wonderful white men out there, who I love and enjoy, but enough already. No, it's true, that's true! So Pamela as you and and Diane have been navigating this journey together. You know we get our sort of success Milestone Center. Has they evolve as we go along right, but what does success look like for you today for coils to Locks, and I and I stress what measuring tape? Are you using to measure your success because oftentimes we look out in the world and we go well. We can't be successful because we have it done what so-and-so has done yet, and that is a waste of your time. Founders really pull into your heart. What success looks for yourself and celebrate it so Pamela? What does success? Look like for you in town yeah? Definitely well, as I established earlier. I am a self-professed personal development geek, so I you know it definitely starts with working on myself. Always you know, like a success, looks like me being the best version of myself from day to day, Mind Body Spirit and then helping others do the same. But I'm of that of you've got to put your own oxygen Mass oxygen mask on first. In order to you know, help others right so um, even if that's just by example, right um, business-wise um. All of that is part of it being of service um in a big way. Uh. I love that we are a social impact, business, disrupting a healthcare disparity that fuels me every day. That feels great. That feels great yeah um, we're helping women shine and feel more like like themselves and have a sense of dignity during a challenging process, whether from cancer or losing their hair. From some other means, you know so that's I love that. That'S success. It'S both a it's. Both a feeling and an outcome absolutely, and are you seeing yourself scale nationally this year and could you ever become International, absolutely all of the above, so we uh, we actually just hired a second um contractor to help us do Outreach. We'Ve gotten some great marketing, um research was done for us through Deloitte. Also, pro bono, the pro bono method, you find the pro bono word white people who will add wind to your sales, just for doing the good exactly so now you know we we know where our target market is where they live, what they do, what Their psychographics, Like we have all of that, and so we're going to start to do the Outreach on the the hospital side - and we are also um - have just been in conversations - we're looking to hire a marketing person because, on the e-commerce side, it's so important direct a consumer That you, you know you have your SEO right right and your um, you know doing some level of AD spend. You know we realize that um, that organic growth is nice, but it really doesn't get you to right and it's really inexpensive to do. Google ads, I'm just saying: there's a YouTube video for that and you can reach and you can Target with your Google. You know: go to adsads.google and they'll, explain everything and then go on YouTube and there's some wonderful how-to videos that actually hold your hand to do. The whole process - it's wonderful, you have to advertise and Diane. Thank you for the stats here. She says we are already in 15. Hospitals and medical hair loss spaces across the country, and we are being more aggressive in the next few weeks to expand our Outreach and folks tuning in to share coils to locks with your tribe on social media. Wherever you glow, because you know. There'S a woman of color who needs to know about this, and these are very reasonably priced wigs. They are textured appropriately. They are set for a woman of Colors, Hair and uplift. Another woman - you know by letting her know about this opportunity, but also tell them about tell folks about the we funder campaign. Let'S get to that 50. 000.. Yes, we're five thousand dollars away yay and then, as Diane says, getting to our minimum 50k goal will help us with our planned Outreach across the country and eventually globally. So that's terrific. Bravo, sisters, hashtag sisterpreneurs entrepreneurs, I guess for the Boston accent in there folks. What can I tell you, and you know you as an actress right, your background folks, I didn't, we didn't get to Pamela's lived experience so much, but you have a background in acting, and so how has this helped? You create a mindset that can get you through the day, because every founder feels inadequate. I don't care how experienced there, how famous or whatever it's part of the human condition, especially if you're doing something new. What helps you Pamela stay strong during these moments of doubt and help you put your game on right and show up ready to glow when you need to, instead of biting your nails and staying under the covers um, I don't know, I think most feelings of inadequacy At least for me is about not feeling prepared or knowledgeable in something or simply the fear of the unknown right. So simply I I try to get as prepared as possible as much as I can, and I keep that Mantra in my head of Feel the fear and do it anyway. You know, I know, we've heard it a lot, but you know it's so important to do that and I think, being an actor has definitely prepared me for that. Um because you're constantly having to you know, go out and look for jobs and stand in rooms, and you know present myself, like I hate and get a product so projected and get rejected. I don't have a chance exactly. I go on 50 auditions to get to one job, like all of that has definitely prepared me um, and I like that, you know, feel the fear do it anyway. I can see Richard. I was going. That'S another Stitch that on a pillow moment, you know folks, it's not a Cavalier thing that we say I mean there's no antidote for uncertainty, there's no antidote for fear, so you just you just have to hold its hand and say thank you and I've got this Right give fear a hug and you know Diane, you know what I mean Pamela. What I do a lot is, I use the chocolate cake example, so you're making a chocolate cake right, but the ingredient that's going to make it successful is that baking soda and you know baking soda on its own right, but you put it into that chocolate cake

Britney: I don’t know you, but God bless you ❤

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